8.17.2014

Cokato Corn Carnival, Part 1: A Real Corn-ucopia

If you dislike corn, stop reading now. If you don't like carnivals, hit the back button. If you wither at the thought of small town America, step back, Jack. This post will literally be chock full of corn, carnival items, small town stuff.

I've come to find out over the course of my time in MN and at the company I work for, there's no point in hesitating if a particular coworker invites me to do something. He's been responsible for some really great glimpses into MN, like HERE, HERE, and HERE. At this point, as soon as he gets out the words, "Would you like to..." - I'm ready with a quick, "Yes." The "planning" for this event was no less thorough and thought out (at least on my part). He had told me about a corn carnival and I was all in. To that end and from the outset, I did not look up a single thing about the town or the festival. This is not like me at all as I'm normally more comfortable with over-researching and over-thinking, almost anything. But, with this coworker, I generally know it will be interesting and he'll shepherd me through the paces.

In this instance, I've learned a bit more about this carnival by word of mouth and after the fact, just by mentioning it to others. It has been going on for some time, likely longer than I've been alive. It is a dry event - no drinks around (but I hardly noticed with all the corn in my maw). It now runs three days, always a Monday through Wednesday in this small town of Cokato. The first day is something like a preview... no corn is served, but they do bolster the night with a parade. Corn IS served on Tuesday and Wednesday, but not all day, starting only in late afternoon. And I think I know why on that one, it's because they hand-shuck 10 TONS of corn for each day that it's served. My sharp math skills tell me that 20 TONS of corn over two days that is hand-shucked. It sounds nuts, but I'm told the towns people do this task, and even a rumor of the town using it as punishment for juveniles (srsly!). I hand-shucked about 12 ears the other day and I needed some Gatorade and a protein bar afterwards (no, not really).

Having set the scene for you, dear reader, let's continue - We arrived for the last day of the carnival, a warm Wednesday evening. And here's a kicker, the corn is technically FREE! You are "encouraged" to buy a carnival button/raffle ticket for a whopping $3. Once you have this button, you can go through the fresh corn on the cob line as many times as you would like. Sign. ME. Up.

I'm going to highlight the corn and a few other edibles from the fair in this post below, but you're going to want to come back tomorrow for the look into the "system of corn" they have developed for this fair over the years - it might blow your mind.

The first two ears I ever ate at the Cokato Corn Carnival (C3)

Wrapped by hand in a papery wrap, it's ready to go from the moment you peel back it's paper blankie ... well, after a little salt is sprinkled

Watch your fingers at this place...

We had a corndog in the corn on the cob line, then a couple ears of fresh corn to get it going, then went in search of their pork chops.
This was actually a "baby chop" in my estimation, but it sure was good. Then we hit the Bingo tent before a walk back to the car to get a bag to fill for corn for the road (my coworker brought some ears back for his wife - smart man)

As we walked back to the grounds to get some more corn, we noticed this insane looking piece of functional Americana. It's a ride in the midway, but you can clearly see it's older than we are and also clearly see the tractor front-end which runs the whole contraption. I almost couldn't believe they were letting people ride in it, but hey, I'm sure it's safe.

I believe this was ear #4 - you can just make out a clean cob and wrapper behind it

After all the foods, we still decided to end our night with milkshakes and mini-donuts. The donuts were like little pillows of heaven... and helped us complete our mid-week food coma. Ah, sit back and pass out...
Again, come back tomorrow for the 2nd and final installment of the Cokato Corn Carnival - you will not believe what they've set-up over the years to get the freshly cooked corn in your face.

1 comment:

Victoria said...

sounds delicious!! i love me some corn and carnivals :)

transplanted.chicagoan

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